Samuel Martinez

15 Charged In Connection To 2019 Hazing Death Of Washington State University Freshman

In November 2019, Samuel Martinez died of alcohol poisoning after attending an event hosted by Washington State University’s Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Fifteen men have now been charged in connection with his death.

According to PEOPLE, Martinez was forced to drink at the party hosted by the fraternity he had pledged to join.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy announced on Wednesday that the 15 men were charged with supplying liquor to minors, a gross misdemeanor that carries a maximum of one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine, the outlet stated.

However, the family of the victim told the New York Times that the punishments were “insulting compared to the devastating consequences of their actions, which directly led to Sam’s death, and the loss we are living with for the rest of our lives.”

Martinez’s family says that he and another person pledging were forced to drink a half-gallon of rum between the both of them, and after his death, his blood-alcohol level measured nearly five times the legal limit.

Still, his death was ruled accidental, NBC News reported.

“While the charges may lead to some level of accountability, this is not justice. It does not bring us closure,” Martinez’s family said in a statement Wednesday, the Seattle Times reports. “We are deeply disappointed that no one will face a charge of hazing in this case.”

The frat was forced to close its WSU chapter, and the members involved were expelled.

Martinez’s family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the school, as well as the fraternity.

Jolayne Houtz wrote an op-ed in the Seattle Times encouraging colleges and universities to stop the “toxic tradition” of hazing.

“The college fraternity system is long overdue for the kind of reckoning many other American institutions now face for enabling and perpetuating violence, injustice, and destructive behavior.”

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Crystal Gross
Crystal joined BallerAlert in 2020 to renew her passion for writing. She is a Kentucky native who now lives in the heart of Atlanta. She enjoys reading, politics, traveling, and of course writing.

About Crystal Gross

Crystal joined BallerAlert in 2020 to renew her passion for writing. She is a Kentucky native who now lives in the heart of Atlanta. She enjoys reading, politics, traveling, and of course writing.

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